Dull phase for Goa’s wedding industry due to lockdown

Panaji: The coronavirus crisis and the need to maintain social distancing has forced people in Goa to postpone their wedding ceremonies, which has also affected businesses of photographers, caterers and owners of marriage halls in the state.

April and May is considered as the peak season for Christian weddings in the state, but the wedding industry has witnessed a dull phase in these two months this year.

People of Christian faith, who comprise nearly 30 per cent of Goa’s population, usually have their marriage ceremonies in churches in these two months following which they organise receptions in marriage halls and other venues.

However, this time there have been no such functions, severely affecting the state’s wedding business segment.

“The marriage season begins in the state after Easter and continues till May-end, before monsoon,” Angelo Rebello, wedding photographer from South Goa district, told PTI.

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This year also, Rebello had his calendar full in advance for the months of April and May, with assignments lined up for an average one wedding ceremony every day.

However, after the lockdown, all the ceremonies got postponed, he said.

“I have given back the advance amounts that I had accepted. People have postponed their celebrations,” he said.

Those suffering from the lockdown blues also include entrepreneurs, who own/manage wedding venues in Goa.

Azmi Dias, who manages South Goas one of the most popular wedding venues ‘Joemitra Woods’, at Curtorim village near Margao town, says at least 25 weddings scheduled at their reception hall have been cancelled since the lockdown.

“They will be held at later dates now. But, we have to continue paying salaries to our staff and workers whom we have retained. It is a complete loss, she said.

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Dias also used to accept catering orders, all of which have now been cancelled.

“No weddings take place during the monsoon and the season usually restarts in October-November. But looking at the spread of COVID-19, we dont expect the wedding season to start soon, she said.

While most people cancelled the wedding celebrations in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, a few still went ahead to tie the nuptial knot in churches and then organised small parties at home for close relatives.

“A gathering of 20 people in a church for wedding is allowed. Some wedding ceremonies took place even during the lockdown, but they were low-key, said Ronaldo Fernandes, a parishioner from Rachol Church in South Goa district.

After the church ceremonies, people organised get- togethers for small groups, without any publicity, he added.

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